Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Student Advising

Meet the CC Peer Advisers!

Anushua Bhattacharya

School and Year: CC, 2016
Major: Biology
Hometown: Woodbury, MN
Clubs/Activities: Undergraduate Biology Research, Columbia Brigades, Undergraduate Recruitment Committee
Favorite NYC spots: Central Park, Museum Mile, Columbus Circle, Brooklyn Bridge
Top 3 CU Traditions:
1. Orgo Night
2. Bacchanal
3. Activities Fair
What you wish you knew as a first year:
1. Change is good! Coming to college with some preconceived notions is expected, but don't be afraid to change your mind! Try out a new class or activity, consider a new internship, or maybe change career paths.  Whatever the change may be, make sure the shift makes your a more passionate person towards your goals. 
2. Make time for yourself! That means no friends and no homework. Take a nap, go for a run, watch a TV show - learn how to recharge and make time for this in your schedule.  You'll be surprise how quickly college goes by, and how easy it is to feel overwhelmed as the weeks progress. 
3. Strive to do YOUR best... not be the best. Columbia is full of ambitious and driven students so it is no longer easy to be the best at the school. Set realistic goals and always be aware of how you are performing. Are your study skills successful? Are you efficient yet thorough? Do you take advantage of the opportunities provided? Continue to check in on yourself as you progress through college. 

Dylan Cooper

School and Year: CC 2018
Major:  Neuroscience and Behavior (Pre-Med)
Hometown: Memphis, TN

Clubs/Activities: Columbia Spectator, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Volunteer, Basketball Intramurals, Columbia/Barnard Hillel

Favorite NYC spots: Central Park, Mudd Roof, the spanking new Whitney Museum

Top 3 CU Traditions: 

  1. Running to Midnight Breakfast after Orgo Night: Bouncing from tradition to tradition makes me bleed Columbia Blue like never before.
  2. Studying into the wee hours of the night in the Stacks: We’ve all been there.
  3. Midnight JJ’s Place: There’s nothing like it, and you can never get enough…

What you wish you knew as a first year student:

1. The transition into campus life is HARD and can be pretty unpleasant. Don't expect your first semester to be the ideal "college experience" that's pictured in the media. The more time spent on campus and more involved you become, the more comfortable you’ll get!
2. Speak to your elders! In addition to the many resources Columbia offers its students in terms of advising, it’s so helpful to speak to sophomores and upperclassmen about how they managed freshman year. Ask them about which courses (and professors!) they have taken and how their academic plans have adjusted over time. 
3. College is not easy and no matter how hard you try, there will be times when you get disappointing news or grades. That's how the system works, but what matters most is that you tried your best. Keep weathering the storm and remember that it’s equally important to go out and have fun!

Jessica Geddes

School and Year: CC 2016
Major: Biology Major with a History Concentration (Pre-Med) 
Hometown: Lexington, KY

Clubs/ Activities: HRTP Intern at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Lang Youth Educator at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Health Leads advocate, Women’s Club Rugby Team

Favorite NYC spots: Coney Island, The Rubin Art Museum, Chelsea Market

Top 3 CU traditions: 

  1. Varsity Show
  2. Bacchanal
  3. Primal Scream

What you wish you knew as a first year student:

  1. 1. The theme dinners at John Jay are actually the best. Thanksgiving, Surf n’ Turf, etc,- GO!
  2. Learn how to deal with being a little fish in a big pond.  You may be used to being the best at everything, but’s okay to just be “average” at Columbia. Don’t let perceived mediocrity ruin your dreams!
  3. Choose classes based on the professor, not based on the time slot. Don’t be afraid of the 8:40s. It’s way better to have an amazing, gold-nugget professor at an inconvenient time than to have a terrible professor at a great time. At the end of the day, you are spending the same amount of time in the class, so make it worthwhile.

Katie KesterKatie

School and Year: CC 2017
Major: Biology (Pre-med)
Hometown: Wellesley, MA

Clubs/Activities: RA in Wien, Camp Kesem Columbia (Outreach Coordinator), HEART Coordinator, Student Health Outreach Coordinator, Columbia Science Outreach, Orchesis

Favorite NYC spots: The High Line, Chelsea Market, the Met, Central Park

Top 3 CU traditions:

  1. Varsity Show
  2. Tree Lighting Ceremony
  3. Lunar Gala

What you wish you knew as a first year student:

  1. Don’t be afraid to say “yes” to going out into the city or attending fun events on campus.  Sure, there will be times when you need to study.  Too often though, I found that my friends and I stayed on campus to study in spite of an offer to do something else exciting. Usually though, we  were not very productive during that time.  Our time probably would have been better spent going out and then returning to our work refreshed and focused.
  2.  Take time to really get to know your classmates/floor mates. I was challenged far more by the views of my peers than by anything I learned in the classroom. Make time for those late-night philosophical heart-to-hearts with your friends.
  3. Always ask for help.  Your friends, family, advisers, TAs, and professors are all wonderful resources – use them!


Nina Mandracchia

School and Year: CC 2018
Major: Neuroscience and Behavior
Hometown: San Jose, CA

Clubs/Activities: AMSA, Varsity Softball, Columbia Neuroscience Society (Undergraduate)

Favorite NYC Spots: Brooklyn Bridge, Museum of Natural History, Yankee Stadium

Top 3 CU Traditions

1.     Varsity Show

2.     Tree lighting ceremony

3.     First home game

What you wish you knew as a first year:

1.     Go outside your comfort zone! Especially if you already know a couple people or have teammates going into Columbia, branch out and find other people that you can have a connection with

2.     Try not to get stuck at Butler all the time.  Sometimes changing up study spots can give you a new motivation to study.  One of my favorites is Lehman Library in IAB.  But even a Starbucks or the Carman basement are good spots!

3.     There’s a Starbucks in the Diana Center at Barnard that takes flex! This changed my life

Zina Sockwell

School and Year: CC 2017
Major: Sociology and Business Management
Hometown: Newark, NJ

Clubs/Activities: RHLO, NRHH, RC@C, Gamma Phi Beta, First-In-Family Advisory Board, MLT Career Prep
Favorite NYC spots: Running trail along the Hudson River in Riverside Park, the Hungarian Pastry Shop, the Met

Top 3 CU traditions: 
1. Eating Chipotle on the steps
2. Art Humanities/Global Core/CC (so much greatness can come of these classes)
3. Basketball Mania

What you wish you knew as a first year student:

1. College is actually for exploring! If you come into college with an interest in mind, that's great! But don't forget to leave room for change, and don't be afraid to change your mind. Take fun classes, try new clubs, go new places, and definitely make new friends!

2. Columbia is full of resources that can really make your experience if you know how to leverage them. Be familiar with your Advising Dean. Go to office hours. Get to know your RA (Resident Adviser). Meet with the advisers at OGP (Office of Global Programs) and CCE (Center for Career Education). Talk to a PA (Peer Adviser)! And don't be afraid to ask what an acronym means.

3. Do your core! I finished nearly all of my core requirements by the end of sophomore year, and this has been great for me on two fronts. 1) I had no idea what I wanted to major in, and doing my core early gave me some time to think and material to think about. 2) I was able to enjoy my core classes knowing that I was in no rush, and now I have more freedom in choosing my classes without feeling pressured by impending requirements.

James H. and Christine Turk Berick Center for Student Advising


403 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: (212) 854-6378

Fax: (212) 854-2458

Office Hours
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Walk-in Hours
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